New dawn for French language as Rwanda recruits foreign teachers

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Students at the Kirambo primary school in Burera district in northern Rwanda. Since 2004 Rwanda has expanded the education system with thousands of new classrooms and teachers. Rwanda provides 9 years of free education for all children. Many schools have two shifts. English has replaced French as the second language. | Location: Burera, Rwanda. (Photo by William Campbell/Corbis via Getty Images)
Students at the Kirambo primary school in Burera district in northern Rwanda. Since 2004 Rwanda has expanded the education system with thousands of new classrooms and teachers. Rwanda provides 9 years of free education for all children. Many schools have two shifts. English has replaced French as the second language. | Location: Burera, Rwanda. (Photo by William Campbell/Corbis via Getty Images)

A group of foreign teachers has arrived in Rwanda under a “teacher mobility” programme aimed at revitalizing the French language in Rwandan schools.

For a decade now, sustaining French in local schools has been a challenge following the adoption of the English language as a medium of instruction in public schools. The teachers come from nine countries, among them France, Cameroon, Gabon, Senegal, and Mali.

They will spend one year in Teacher Training Colleges (TTCs), as well as public and private schools, teaching students and training Rwandan teachers.

“The objective of this programme is to support schools to promote the teaching of French, to help teachers and to promote La Francophonie in general in this country,” said Juliette Bigot, cooperation and culture advisor at the French Embassy in Rwanda

She was speaking, Tuesday, October 13, on behalf of OIF at the opening ceremony of a three-day workshop in Kigali, which is part of the process to integrate the volunteers into the Rwandan society.

Bigot said Rwanda is one of the priority countries of the programme, revealing that more cohorts of volunteer teachers will be deployed.

Currently, the teachers are being trained on digital literacy, which has become a vital tool for remote learning for both educators and learners in times of Covid-19 pandemic.

“Promoting the French language is our goal,” said Gaspard Twagirayezu, Minister of State in charge of primary and secondary education.

“That is why we worked with La Francophonie so that these teachers can come here to help us, help people in our communities in order to continue to promote French.”

French is one of Rwanda’s four official languages, along with Kinyarwanda, English, and Kiswahili.

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